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Jeff Bezos ’86 loses, then regains, title of world’s richest person

<h5>Jeff Bezos in 2018.</h5>
<h6>Courtesy of Grant Miller / <a href="" target="_self">The George W. Bush Presidential Center</a></h6>
Jeff Bezos in 2018.
Courtesy of Grant Miller / The George W. Bush Presidential Center

On Oct. 24, after a sharp drop in Amazon’s stock price, Jeff Bezos ’86 momentarily lost his title as the world’s richest man, only to regain the distinction after markets closed the next day. This incident interrupted Bezos’s almost-two-year reign as the world’s wealthiest man.

Bezos first gained the title, surpassing Bill Gates, in October 2017. Last month’s market shift saw Gates regain his former title, albeit for a few hours, with a net worth at the time of 105.7 billion dollars, to Bezos’s 103.9 billion. Gates had previously held the title for a total of 24 years.


The brief loss resulted from a 7 percent drop in Amazon’s share price following the release of the company’s third-quarter earnings. With the company moving into a high expenditure season, looking to make the shift from two- to one-day shipping for all Amazon Prime customers, investor uncertainty is likely to persist.

Bezos’s wealth has also been impacted by his public divorce this January, during which his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, gained sole ownership over 25 percent of the couple’s stake in Amazon. The divorce decreased his personal stake in the company from 16 percent to 12 percent.  Pursuant to their settlement, Jeff Bezos retains all the voting rights associated with his initial 16 percent share in the E-commerce giant.

Despite long-term skepticism over Bezos’s ability to stay atop a growing list of competitive billionaires, he regained his title early Friday morning. With a stronger showing during Thursday’s after hours trading, Bezos’s net worth stabilized at 109.9 billion dollars.

As Amazon makes its way through an expenditure-intensive period, it is possible that this may not be the last story of its kind. However, with the Christmas season around the corner, the volume of Amazon’s sales will likely keep Bezos propped in the number-one spot, at least until the new year.